How do I boot off of someone else's internal hard drive on my laptop?
December 3, 2008 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Running XP on my computer, off of someone else's internal hard drive

I'm trying to clean up a friend's desktop from a nasty virus infestation, so I snagged his hard drive out of the case. I am using an adapter to connect it via USB, but was wondering if there is a way to virtually (or perhaps boot off of) this drive. I know that it would be incompatible with my hardware, but I wanted to run some more things from my end, rather than driving to his home. He has XP.
posted by senterstyle to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No, he doesnt have the drivers for your hardware. You dont need to boot off it to clean anything, you should be able to navigate the drive just fine from your windows install. You should be able to point your virus/malware scanner at it while plugged into the USB.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:11 PM on December 3, 2008

Response by poster: Yeah, but I want to be able to go through the registry, etc.
posted by senterstyle at 7:20 PM on December 3, 2008

Yeah, but I want to be able to go through the registry, etc.

You can import the relevant hive(s), AFAIK.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:29 PM on December 3, 2008

Why not use antivirus software on your computer to remove the viruses, then boot the other computer disconnected from anything (internet, flashdrive, etc) and then edit the registry there. Wouldn't that deal with the slowness? (if it has no master server to talk to, and has no more virus files)
posted by ooklala at 7:29 PM on December 3, 2008

Go into the BIOS, and see if you can change the boot order so that it boots from USB. (Note: do not do this unless you are confident in your ability to change things around in your BIOS.)
posted by box at 7:31 PM on December 3, 2008

That's how you'd boot from his hard drive, I mean, if it's possible, which it might not be, depending on your computer. Whether that's the best virus-cleaning strategy, well, I'm not sure, but probably not.
posted by box at 7:33 PM on December 3, 2008

Best answer: Its way easier to clear a tough infection if you're not booting from the infected drive. In general, I'd boot from a live cd from an antivirus company and let it take care of the infection.

From your windows install, you can still edit his registry.
posted by jjb at 7:45 PM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can't boot an XP install from a USB external drive. I would do the same as jjb said.

I second the live cd, here's a couple that I use - they do not come with antivirus software though, but good for navigating the drive:
posted by Sonic_Molson at 8:57 PM on December 3, 2008

One more reason you shouldn't try booting a disk from another system with your laptop is that XP will try to reconfigure for your hardware and may fail to boot, will possibly request reactivation because of the new hardware environment, and generally muck up your friend's install. I strongly suggest you do not even try this.
posted by ghost of a past number at 9:47 PM on December 3, 2008

Response by poster: I know about the dangers in booting someone else's hard drive. That's why I asked for a virtual solution... something kind of VMWare but loading the drive rather than an image. Nonetheless, all I really wanted to do was run a specific uninstaller for some nasty malware, but instead I manually removed the files and registry entries (thanks to jjb). Thanks for the responses, guys!
posted by senterstyle at 4:31 AM on December 4, 2008

« Older How do I wrap an outdoor deciduous tree with...   |   Thanks for picking up my rubbish Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.